Slapping the Table in Amazement is the unabridged English translation of the famous story collection Pai’an jingqi by Ling Mengchu (1580–1644), originally published in 1628. The forty lively stories gathered here present a broad picture of traditional Chinese society and include characters from all social levels. We learn of their joys and sorrows, their views about life and death, and their visions of the underworld and the supernatural.
Ling was a connoisseur of popular literature and a seminal figure in the development of Chinese literature in the vernacular, which paved the way for the late-imperial Chinese novel. Slapping the Table in Amazement includes translations of verse and prologue stories as well as marginal and interlinear comments.
Centuries later, Ling Mengchu’s stories, full of love and treachery, humour and drama, are as compelling as ever. This is a book for the ages, brought to life in a superb, witty, and beautiful translation by Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang.
This translation is a major achievement.
The completeness and the quality of the translation puts it light years ahead of all existing attempts to introduce Ling’s stories to English readers.
Shuhui Yang is professor of Chinese at Bates College. Yunqin Yang is a simultaneous interpreter in the United Nations Secretariat. Together they translated the three-volume set of Ming dynasty stories by Feng Menglong: Stories Old and New, Stories to Caution the World, and Stories to Awaken the World.
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